What can go outside and when? We get this question a lot this time of year. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as giving you a date—nighttime temperatures drive it, so staying on top of the daily weather forecast is crucial. Since Mother Nature is unpredictable, we stick to the following rules of thumb, knowing that it’s all about being flexible and keeping an eye on the forecast.

Annuals fall into a couple of basic planting temperatures:

  • Cold Tolerant (40 degrees or higher): This category includes Fuchsias, Petunias, Nemesia, Dianthus, Osteospermum Daisies, Sweet Alyssum, Snapdragons, and Dusty Miller. If you want summer color in early spring, these are great options.
  • Tropical (over 50 degrees): Everything else requires temperatures over 50 degrees (24/7) to be safely put outside. This includes tropicals, houseplants, citrus, and figs.

Mother Nature is always in control. Our smartphones make it a lot easier; simply look at any weather app and check the hourly tracking. If temperatures are forecast to drop below those listed above, cover your plants with some type of cloth … but never use plastic! Better yet, bring your plants inside at night (if possible).

Hint: watch what we do at Van Wilgen’s on our front patio. When it’s safe to put tropicals out for good, you will see them everywhere!

This time of year, we frequently have people wondering if it’s too late to plant. We’re happy to report that fall is a FANTASTIC time to plant! Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. Cool nighttime temperatures, moderate daytime temperatures, and warm soil temperatures create favorable conditions that allow for rapid root establishment. Combine this with the fact that most plants are now finishing their top growth for the season, it allows the root system to take advantage of all the hard work your plant did during the growing season. You can certainly help your plant get ready for winter by planting with Van Wilgen’s Jump Start and amending the soil with Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting Mix. You’ll also want to make sure you water your new plant every three days if mother nature doesn’t help you out. We are never quite sure what she is up to these days.

You can still find plenty of fresh plant material here at the Garden Center that’s waiting to be put into the ground! Plant them now, and they’ll have a head start come spring!

Have questions? We’re here to help! Stop by and we can answer your questions and give you additional planting advice to ensure your plants thrive in your garden.